TIMELINE: A look back on the major developments in the Brittanee Drexel case
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - A Georgetown County man pleaded guilty on Wednesday to kidnapping, raping and killing 17-year-old Brittanee Drexel while she was on Spring Break in Myrtle Beach over 13 years ago.
Raymond Moody’s plea marks the end of a long chapter for family and friends of Drexel’s.
Here’s a look at the major developments in Drexel’s case over the past 13 years:
April 25, 2009: Drexel, then 17, was seen for the last time in front of the Blue Water Resort on Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach. She was visiting the area for spring break, but her mother says she was not aware of where her daughter was.
Her last text was sent to her boyfriend in New York. He called Drexel’s mother after his responding text went unanswered. She then called police.
Investigators pinged Drexel’s phone to a location in Surfside Beach six miles away. It pinged again a couple of hours later at a location near the North Santee River and Highway 17, 46 miles from where she was last seen.
May 2009: A massive search continued at the boat landing where Drexel’s phone last pinged, involving around 50 investigators and K9s.
August 2009: Digital billboards begin appearing across the Grand Strand with information on Drexel. Two of them were on Highway 17 Bypass while the other was along Highway 501 near Forestbrook Road.
June 2010: Drexel’s family is awarded an honorary diploma from Gates Chili High School in New York at her high school class’s graduation.
April 2012: A memorial tree is planted at The Market Common in honor of Drexel. Age-progressed photos are released later that year to make the public aware of how she may have looked at age 21.
August 2016: An FBI agent testifies in open court they were told by a jailhouse informant that Drexel was abducted and gang-raped at a “stash house” in the McClellanville area. The agent also said she was allegedly shot when trying to escape, and her body was then fed to alligators.
Timothy Da’Shaun Taylor, who was arrested years prior in an unrelated armed robbery, was implicated in the case by the informant. Taylor’s father, Shaun Taylor, was also accused of being directly involved.
A third person of interest had been identified as Raymond Moody, of Georgetown County. Officials said Moody had a criminal history and served 21 years in prison for charges including forcible rape and kidnapping. He also received a speeding ticket in Surfside Beach the day after Drexel disappeared.
None of the men were charged at the time of her disappearance.
December 2018: The jailhouse informant, Taquon Brown, filed a lawsuit, claiming law enforcement released his statement about the Drexel case to various media outlets. He also claimed it was detrimental to his safety in prison, with an alleged bounty placed on him.
April 2019: A decade after Drexel first disappeared, the FBI was offering a $25,000 reward for information that led to an arrest and conviction in the case.
May 16, 2022: The Georgetown County sheriff announced that human remains that were found in the Harmony Township neighborhood on May 11, 2022 were identified as Drexel. The sheriff also revealed that Moody, who was identified as a person of interest in 2012, has been arrested and charged with murder, kidnapping and first-degree criminal sexual conduct in Drexel’s case.
Fifteenth Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson said that Moody turned himself in. Authorities determined that the kidnapping, rape and murder occurred between April 25, 2009 - April 26, 2009.
October 19, 2022: Raymond Moody pleaded guilty to kidnapping, raping and murdering Brittanee Drexel in April 2009.
Moody told law enforcement that he and his girlfriend had driven up to Myrtle Beach to party when they saw Drexel walking down the street and asked if she wanted to party and smoke marijuana. According to Moody, Drexel voluntarily got into the vehicle and he didn’t attempt to hurt her in Horry County.
Moody said the three ended up at a campsite that Moody had in Georgetown County.
At some point in the night, his girlfriend left the campsite to attend to a family member and that’s when Moody came onto Drexel and she resisted his sexual advances, according to Moody. He told law enforcement that’s when he essentially kidnapped her and sexually assaulted her. Moody said once he realized what he had done he realized he was going to go back to prison and that’s when he strangled her.
The judge sentenced Moody to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
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